Last night’s message at church was awesome! We were studying Revelations 20…Heaven, Hell, Millineum, and White Throne Judgement. I came away with a new term…”church-hardened”. Are you church-hardened? I was. I grew up in the church, knew all the hymns, knew all the Bible stories, even had many Bible Verses committed to memory, and knew just what to say to appear Christian. Yet, truth be… told at the age of 20 I was still “church-hardened”. I thought going to church made me a Christian, and really did not understand or think it was necessary to have a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ. That changed my 20th year of life. That is the year I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life.
That doesn’t mean I became a perfect Christian. Heaven knows it has been a step-by-step journey, and I have fallen often and had to return to Christ for forgiveness and help getting back on the right track. Remember I am human, and I am a sinner saved by grace…actually saved by the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. At 20 I wasn’t quite ready to be told I needed to do my life someone else’s way. I wasn’t ready to give up my will for God’s will. I was still too human to think I could be wrong. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I began to realize my will kept getting me into trouble. It was listening to those of the world, instead of Jesus Christ that kept me on the wrong path. In a way I was still acting out of being church-hardened, putting on the a mask when needed.
Then I had the worst hurt of my life…betrayal by those who were in the church that were false Christians. The old me of 15 took control and I became angry and doubtful…not about Christ…about Christians as people. I have to admit, I went away from the church, and working in theater made it easy to do. I could work 7 days a week and 16 hours a day and never set foot in a church or spend time with a “Christian” at all. But during that time I didn’t stop reading my Bible, or praying. But there was an emptiness I felt. You see I was still going by my will, and like most the world was looking at others and not at my own faults. I really found my life becoming a disaster, even though I loved working theater, my personal choices were destroying my life.
It wasn’t until I was 40, back in a small town in Missouri going to church again, that I found what I was missing…God’s Will controlling my life instead of me. My personal walk with Christ could not progress until I climbed this mountain and let Christ have control. I was still seeing my own life spin out of control because of myself and those around me, but I wasn’t letting Christ have control so that he could stop it. I finally had enough and by my own bed I fell to my knees and begged Christ to take full control. “Help me” I cried. And he did…little by little he changed my life. How? He changed me. From the angry, hurt, rebellious child I had been all my life, to the woman who is confident in Christ and God’s Word, who now puts her hope and faith in God to lead and guide. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to fall, or struggle. It does mean that I know that when it happens I can turn to my Heavenly Father to see me through and get me back on the right track. I am no longer church-hardened. As our Assistant Pastor said last night…Going to church makes you no more of a Christian than standing in the car makes you a car. I know that now. It is only through accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and seeking His Will and not your own that you can be a true Christian. It is a daily walk…no a moment by moment walk with God. Now at 54, dealing with health issues that are beyond my control, I’m finding the need to slow down and depend on the Lord each day to see me through even more than before. If I had to say I had one regret it would be that I didn’t learn to give all of me to Christ as a child. It would have made the journey easier, the choices I made different, and the loneliness, anger, hurt, and touble a lot less. I hope and pray for all, that through Christ your journey may be easier, and your hope and joy overflowing.
1 John 1:9…”If we confess our sins He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”
John 3:16-17…”For God so loved the world that He gave his ONLY begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.”
Please consider Jesus Christ now…your eternal life depends on it.